Salamin Summer 2014

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table of contents SALAMIN MAGAZINE

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Sunday Jump: Bridging the past and the present Bamboo bike builders in Bayawan City, Philippines Cebu in three exciting days


Song for the homeland: “Remember, Rebuild and Sustain”

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Harmony and hope with Scripps College Column: Are we ready for another Yolanda?

22 Poetry by E. San Juan Jr. 24 Book review: “Filipinotown: Voices from Los Angeles” 26 Book review: “A Rose and a Butterfly: An Autobiography

of an Immigrant’s Daughter”

28 Melissa Morgan stays true to the spirit of jazz 30 CD review: “Straight Ahead” 32 Pinoy photographer on top of his game 34 Saying goodbye to “Uncle” Fred Cordova 36 About the cover and the artist, Eliseo Art Silva We at Salamin would like to thank all our supporters, especially those who came to “Melissa and the Maestro,” our fundraiser on May 3, 2014. Without you, Salamin would not be possible. For more stories on the Filipino-American life, go to “Salamin” is produced by Pinoy in America Publishing. For more information, email Editor: Lorenzo Paran III Contributing writer: Justine Calma Photographer: Rick Gavino Facebook: Twitter: @salaminmagazine

{ NOTE FROM THE EDITOR } Sometimes this work is overwhelming. There are countless events—many taking place at the same time!—that should be featured by a magazine and website claiming to cover Filipino art and culture in the Greater Los Angeles Area. We never claimed we would cover all of them, but still the work is too much for a writer and a photographer who both have full-time jobs to start with. Salamin is another full-time job, I’ve often been told. And it is. On the other hand, it’s a lot of fun, so it doesn’t feel like work at all. So off we go to the next event! There are times, though, when you think—especially given the very limited resources we have (Salamin runs largely on sponsorships and donations): (insert Filipino expletive here), can I pull this off again? And somehow I, as prime instigator at Salamin, always do. What keeps me going? It’s this adage: “What are we without our stories?” It’s not enough to hold “events.” Those events should be broadcast. Reported. Otherwise, it’s almost as if they didn’t exist. And you don’t report it so people don’t have to go to the event; you report it so that those who are unable to go would know what took place. You do that often enough and you will have strengthened the ties in your community. Here we are again with our humble contribution to that end. Incidentally, our contributing writer Justine Calma recently started graduate studies at Columbia University (in journalism, of course), so we won’t be seeing her byline for a while. — Third Paran summer 2014 Salamin


From left, Tu Ben Ngo (aka MC MaJiK), 24, Bel Poblador, 29, Eddy M. Gana Jr., 25, Stephanie Sajor, 25, and Marc Cid, 24 make up the regular cast of poetry open mic at Tribal Café in Historic Filipinotown.


Bridging the past and the present Historic Filipinotown open mic honors tradition and nurtures young artists BY JUSTINE CALMA


n the warm orange glow of Tribal Café in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles, Eddy Gana Jr. and Stephanie Sajor, both 25, recite poetry. Sometimes the poets speak softly, sharing, as if in the company of close friends, their views on growing up in a Filipino family. But sometimes they spit spoken word with a guttural power, proclaiming “I am Filipino” after being told Fil-Ams are “white-washed.” Gana and Sajor are the hosts of Sunday Jump, the only poetry open mic in Historic Filipinotown. Though the event was founded by Filipinos, it welcomes artists of all 4 Salamin summer 2014

backgrounds and ages. The only guidelines for participating in the free open mic are that one articulates “free speech, not hate speech” and that participants “express, not impress.” Sunday Jump takes place every first and third Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Tribal Café on West Temple Street in Echo Park. Writers sign up before the show starts, and can share poetry, prose, memoir, music or even comedy. At the end of the night, Sunday Jump highlights featured artists, like multitalented author and singer Arianna “Lady Basco” of the Basco family who was featured during Sunday Jump’s special Filipino American Heritage Month celebration.

Sunday Jump was founded in 2012 by Gana, Sajor and fellow Filipino-American writer Janice Sapigao. “Something that we always realized is that as Filipino Americans, as Asian Americans, we were always the minority at the open mics,” said Sajor. “We wanted a space where people could go in and know that it would be an open forum for them to share their work. We want Sunday Jump to be a place where people can migrate from the margins.” Partners both on and off the stage and engaged to be married, Gana and Sajor often finish each other’s thoughts. “As Filipino Americans we have a long history of being marginalized,” Gana said, referring to Filipino-American WWII veterans who never received full equity or benefits under the law for their service and Filipino migrant workers who fought alongside Cesar Chavez in the farmworkers movement but are often left out of the historical narrative. The artists at the Sunday Jump move in the shadows of the past, taking care to honor the artists before them–as if Carlos Bulosan himself still sat at the corner table like he might have done when Tribal Café was the Traveler’s Café in the 1920s. Sapigao answered Tribal Café owner Joshua Jose’s call for open mic hosts. “We’re like a cultural center,” said Jose of his café, “a cultural hangout. There’s a lot of Filipino action here.” Jose reopened the café on Temple Street after hearing talk in the neighborhood about what the building used to be, which was a place for Filipino immigrants and cultural workers to gather, eat, write and create. According to oral history in Filipinotown, novelist and poet Carlos Bulosan frequented the Traveler’s café when he was in Los Angeles. As part of the open mic’s “lineage edition,” its organizers have honored poets from the past

by encouraging participants to read excerpts from Bulosan’s and Langston Hughes’ poetry before reading their own. For Sapigao, the history behind Sunday Jump goes even farther. “The decision to even start an open mic as a community space is very Filipino,” she said, comparing it to the balagtasan, a style of poetic debate popular in the Philippines during the American colonial period. “I think of the open mic as a continuation of that same oral tradition. But as an open mic organized mostly by young Filipino Americans, Sunday Jump is as rooted in the present as it is in the past. “We want to show the community and the city that it’s called Historic Filipinotown but it’s still alive and well,” said Gana. “It’s still going, it’s still popping.” John Paul Dimatulac, 17, is a HiFi resident and a senior at Downtown Magnets High School. After hearing about Sunday Jump from a friend and becoming a regular, he now serves as an outreach coordinator recruiting new artists from local high schools. “There are a lot of Filipino youth who are really talented,” he said. “There are dancers, rappers, and youth who are composing their own songs.” Dimatulac says that without the Sunday Jump as a place to nurture his talent, he would have been a “dormant poet.” “Sunday Jump is one of the few places where I really feel safe expressing myself and my poetry,” said the young writer. As the first featured artist of the Sunday Jump’s winter 2014 series, L.A. native and writer Bel Poblador, 29, introduces her prose piece, titled “The Journey Of.” The piece is fitting, she said, because the open mic is taking place in the place where Filipino migrant workers and writers once found rest. Before reading, she tells the audience, “Everything comes full circle, guys.” S summer 2014 Salamin


John Climaco, wearing bandana, the physical education department chair of Crossroads School in Santa Monica, Calif., and an avid cyclist, leads a bamboo bike frame building workshop in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental, in the Philippines. (Photos courtesy of John Climaco)


Pinoy cycling enthusiast hoping to grow bamboo bike industry in the homeland


hat began as intense curiosity about bikes at a young age has become a lifelong passion for cycling in its many forms and the freedom and empowerment it brings. For John Climaco, faculty member and physical education department chair of Crossroads School in Santa Monica, Calif., it also presents an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way with the land of his birth, the Philippines. 6 Salamin summer 2014

Climaco initiated a community-based network of bamboo bike builders in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental, a province in the central Visayas region of the Philippines that is close to the Typhoon Haiyan disaster zone. However, it is not the impact of the disaster that drew him there, but the richness of the province. The area is a rich base for bamboo and other raw material, such as abaca fiber, used in bamboo bike frames, and has deep roots

Top, Climaco shows workshop participants how to build a bamboo frame. Above, Climaco, with Craig Calfee of Calfee Design. Climaco hopes to grow a community of bamboo bike builders in Bayawan City and bring their works to a wider community.

in handcrafting bamboo furniture. Valencia, a mountainous town near Bayawan that is considered among the cleanest and greenest in the province, hosts the Palumba Paambak sa Ligiron (Ligiron race) annually, an event where participants race downhill in luges made of bamboo. The competition displays not only their skill in navigating the trail but more importantly, the community’s familiarity with the capabilities of bamboo. The opportunity to learn the craft of bamboo bike frame building took root in 2009. Through a faculty personal and professional growth award from Crossroads School, Climaco was

able to get his certification in professional bike mechanics through United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Ore., and trained with Craig Calfee on bamboo bike frame building in Santa Cruz, Calif., in 2009. Calfee, renowned for pioneering the use of carbon fiber in the bike industry and owner of La Selva, Calif.-based Calfee Design, had founded Bamboosero a year earlier to connect bike builders in developing countries with bike buyers in developed economies such as the United States. With the continued support of Crossroads School, which awarded Climaco a second faculty personal and professional growth grant this year and together with technical expertise of his mentors—Craig Calfee of Calfee Design; Rey Banatao of Entropy Resins; Jobert Koerkamp of the Philippine Bamboo Foundation, Climaco conducted a 10-day intensive workshop in Bayawan led by Jude Cabangal. The hands-on, build-on-site activity aims to impart skills and techniques of professional bike mechanics and bamboo bike frame building to the participants. Climaco believes over the course of a year the workshop will result in bamboo frames that can be submitted to international production houses. Through the Crossroads grant and additional support from Calfee Design and Entropy Resins, tools and raw materials for bamboo bike builds were donated to the training participants. The workshop was hosted by the Bayawan City government at the TESDA Training Center at Cabcabon Hills, Barangay Banga, Bayawan City, from July 7 to 18, 2014. Together with enthusiastic Bayawanons who are well suited for the art of bamboo bike building, Climaco hopes to facilitate the synergy for bamboo bike frame building in the Philippines and bring it to a wider community. That is good news for Bayawan City, good news for biking and good news for the bamboo bike community. S summer 2014 Salamin



in three exciting days BY RUBEN V. NEPALES


ast year, a relaxing morning ferry ride from Bohol recharged my energy and prepared me for my whirlwind trip to Cebu, which I was visiting for the first time. In three hectic but wonderful days, I enjoyed a fascinating introduction to the Queen City of the South. There’s nothing like the warm Cebuano welcome extended to my wife Janet and me by the staff of the centrally located, posh Marco Polo Plaza Hotel. Not only does the hotel have the most gracious staff; it also serves the best buffet in town. Afternoon found us walking through the Ayala Mall for coffee and chat with our host and friend, Boboi Costas. We saw quite a number of expatriates, probably retirees enjoying a relaxed lifestyle in the Philippines. Refreshed after a good night’s sleep, we were ready to sample some of Cebu’s attractions. First stop was the Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum, which is musically themed and houses memorabilia of

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The Bojo river cruise leads to the beautiful Tanon Strait, a national protected seascape. (Photos by Ruben Nepales)

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Serene and lovely Kantabogon beach in Aloguinsan, Cebu

Postcard-pretty Bojo river. 10 Salamin summer 2014

outstanding Cebuano composers and singers. Fittingly, the award-winning University of Visayas Chorale was in the house and performed songs. The choir’s glorious voices reverberated through the museum. We were moved to tears by the UV Chorale’s rendition of “Matud Nila,” right from the song’s first few notes. That’s how good this choir was. Lunch was at the Museo Parian sa Sugbu, an absolutely captivating place – imagine walking into a dark hardware warehouse and in the middle of it all, you see an ancient house with beckoning lantern lamps. It looked like a Hollywood set but it was for real. It is Jimmy Sy’s ancestral house which he discovered quite by accident was a Jesuit House that apparently was built in 1730. Jimmy and his family converted the house into a museum, a must-see stop that invited conversations about history and inevitably, intriguing ghost stories over lunch.

The majestic ceiling of St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in Carcar City, Cebu

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Also very interesting was the Casa Gorordo, a rare remaining Spanish era “balay na tisa.” Stepping into this well-preserved residence of a Cebuano ilustrado family made us feel like time travelers to 19th century Cebu. Then it was time to visit other premier attractions – Basilica del Santo Niño, Magellan’s Cross (Cebu’s landmark and symbol) and Fort San Pedro. Evening found us reunited with awardwinning filmmaker Joanna Vasquez Arong, who used to be based in Beijing and now, like Boboi, has returned home to Cebu. Joanna hosted a dinner at her striking modern house she built on a hillside in Maria Luisa Estate Park. Surrounded by her friends from Cebu’s film and media community, the director (we first met her in the Sundance Film Festival several years ago) certainly made a solid case for coming home for good. Our last day was devoted to a trek outside the city for a change of pace. This included a visit to Carcar City to tour its magnificent St. Catherine of Alexandria Church which is more than 100 years old. Then it was onto a drive over the mountains to reach Aloguinsan, a hot new destination on Cebu’s southwest coast. Boboi, working closely with Aloguinsan’s municipal government, established the community-based Bojo Aloguinsan-Ecotourism Project in 2009. We had the pleasure of seeing up close the result, the restoration of Bojo river to its pristine state. Bojo village residents themselves manage the increasingly popular river cruise. Lunch was at a hut with a picturesque view of the river. The cruise through mangroves, with interesting bits about the area’s flora and fauna provided by a guide, is a new tourism must-do in Cebu. The river leads to the Tañon Strait, a national protected seascape where visitors can swim, snorkel or just take in the view. Our group was taken by boat to the 12 Salamin summer 2014

A warm Cebuano welcome in the lobby of the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel.

Kantobogon Beach, a serene, lovely beach where the villagers welcomed us with traditional songs and dances. While others took off again in the boat to snorkel, some of us stayed on the beach to enjoy quiet moments. Afterward, we hopped again on the boat to visit the town center of Aloguinsan itself. Mayor Cynthia Moreno met the group at The Farmhouse, another successful project she undertook with Boboi. Resident volunteers in The Farmhouse and in their respective backyards practice natural farming principles. The mayor served a sumptuous merienda cooked from ingredients from the farm, including tuba (coconut wine). Several rounds of tuba toasts capped the day. In the morning, on the flight back to Manila aboard Cebu Pacific, the exclamations of toast still rang in our ears, the mildly intoxicating and sweet taste of tuba still in our mouths. We resolved to come home more often. S

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Song for the homeland

Isabella Ramos, a student at Scripps College, sings “Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal” to open “Remember, Rebuild and Sustain: Walang Iwanan,” a benefit concert for Philippine typhoon victims held on Feb. 2 at the Claremont college.


yphoon Haiyan had hardly left the Philippines when Filipinos in the U.S. stirred into action. For those in the Los Angeles area, it was the beginning of many weeks and months of efforts to send help to the homeland. There would be relief drives, benefit concerts and telethons. To help was the order of the day. A noteworthy benefit, because it signified that Filipinos weren’t 14 Salamin summer 2014

From left, Paul Concepcion, Bob Shroder, Sarah Wallin-Huff, Rachel Huang, Cecille Arevalo Coo, Nicole Martinez, Kathleen Mangusing, Arthur Ocdamia and Tagumpay de Leon provide the music. (Photo by Rick Gavino)

alone in their efforts, was “Remember, Rebuild and Sustain: Walang Iwanan,” organized by the music department of Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., with help from members of the Filipino community and which featured Scripps students and faculty as well as Filipino singers and musicians. In the following pages, read about the concert; and columnist Kris Lanot Lacaba asks if we’re ready for another Yolanda. summer 2014 Salamin



Harmony and hope Scripps College and L.A.-area Pinoys reach out to typhoon victims with a benefit concert BY LORENZO PARAN III


s the Philippines faces the enormous task of rebuilding after the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan, it continues to draw inspiration and support from the international community. More than three months after the typhoon made landfall, it’s comforting to note that others continue to reach out to the Filipino people. On Feb. 2, 2014, Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., extended a helping hand when it hosted a benefit for the Philippine areas 16 Salamin summer 2014

that were hardest hit by the typhoon, said to be one of the most powerful ever to make landfall. Held at the college’s Garrison Theater, “Remember, Rebuild and Sustain: Walang Iwanan” featured a concert that showcased the talents of Scripps’ music students and faculty, as well as Filipino artists. The numbers that harkened to home were especially poignant. Young soprano Isabella Ramos, a Scripps student, opened the program with Ernani

Hao Huang, opposite page, an acclaimed pianist and Scripps College’s chairman of music who organized “Remember, Rebuild and Sustain: Walang Iwanan,” performs Larsen’s “Blue Piece for Violin and Piano” with Rachel Huang. Above, soprano Anne Harley, an assistant professor of music at Scripps, sings “Mutya ng Pasig” with the Filipino-American Symphony Ensemble and Scripps pianist Gayle Blankenburg. (Photos by Rick Gavino)

Cuenco’s “Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal” (“The Depth of My Love”), accompanied by an eightpiece string ensemble composed of members of the Filipino-American Symphony Orchestra, led by musical director and conductor Bob Shroder. The ensemble followed up with the Philippine folk song “Sa Libis ng Nayon” (“In the Outskirts of Town”) with Shroder on flute. Later they returned with Louie Ocampo’s “Kahit Isang Saglit” (“Even if Just for a Moment”). Friends in Harmony also took the stage. The choir is composed of Filipinos who live in the Los Angeles area who hail originally from Tacloban, one of the areas that bore the brunt of Haiyan’s force when it made landfall in the Philippines in November. In a poignant tribute to their hometown, the singers sang a couple of numbers in Wara-waray, their native language. First they performed “Hai Imo La,” a song of

praise, and then they gave life to a medley of Waray-waray folk songs. Many will agree that the afternoon’s highlight was another Filipino song, but it was sang not by a Filipino but by no less than Anne Harley, an assistant professor of music who helped organized the show. A soprano who has performed on stages in Europe and North America, she impressed the crowd with a stirring rendition of “Mutya ng Pasig,” the Nicanor Abelardo ode to Manila’s great river. Harley had said before the show she was anxious about performing a Tagalog number, but she didn’t have reason to. In the end, her powerful but nuanced voice, full of feeling, drew the afternoon’s biggest applause. The music was provided by the FASO Ensemble and by Scripps pianist Gayle Blankenburg. summer 2014 Salamin


But to say the concert featured mostly Philippine music would be farthest from the truth. Instead, “Remember, Rebuild and Sustain” was a concert really of mostly western classical music that showcased the talents of Scripps’ student and faculty. The young pianists—Tongjia Shi, Kristiana Kim, Julia Ahn, Julie Chang and Siyi Hu—took turns performing Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Scriabin, Chopin and Rachmaninoff, while sopranos Michelle Vick and Katharine McGregor gave life to “Pie Jesu” and “Serenade d’Automne,” respectively. The performances offered a glimpse of their bright future as concert artists. The show’s organizer, professor Hao Huang, also took the stage with his wife Rachel Huang, and they performed “Blue Piece for Violin and Piano.” Hao Huang, Scripps’ chairman of music, is an acclaimed concert pianist who has performed around the world. He returned to the stage with Debussy’s 18 Salamin summer 2014

“L’Isle Joyeouse” (“The Happy Island”), which he said was his “wish for the Philippines.” Finally, the Claremont Chamber Choir, conducted by Charles Kamm and featuring soloist Ellen Pelos, sang “Con Harapit Na An Aldaw Matunod,” (“When the Day is About to End”), another Waray-waray folk song. Much of late has been made about foreign singers performing Philippine songs. YouTube is rife with videos of people from other countries singing Tagalog love songs. It’s an endearing trend much loved by Filipinos. But the Claremont Chamber Choir, as it sang in the language of the regions ravaged by Haiyan, during a benefit for typhoon relief efforts, truly hit the right note. The concert was the highlight of an afternoon of events benefitting the Philippines. Earlier there had been a presentation by Gawad Kalinga-USA, the beneficiary of the donations collected during the concert, on the rebuilding efforts in the province of Leyte. Annie Cuevas,

The Claremont Chamber Choir, above, conducted by Charles Kamm, sings “Con Harapit Na an Aldaw Matunod” (“When the Day is About to End”), a Waraywaray folk song. The Friends in Music choir, composed of Filipino singers from the Los Angeles area who hail from Tacloban, Philippines, one of the areas that bore the brunt of Haiyan, also performed during the concert. (Photos by Rick Gavino)

director of the Philippine Department of Tourism’s Los Angeles Office, also talked about Philippine culture. There were also other musical performances, dubbed “Musicking that Matters,” that featured students from the Claremont colleges. It’s worth mentioning also that although the initiative to hold a benefit for the Philippines came from Scripps College—the liberal arts college has a tradition of reaching out in

times of humanitarian crises—members of the Los Angeles Filipino community played a key in the preparations. Huang reached out to Glenn Diaz, the Filipino staff physician of Claremont University Consortium, of which Scripps College is a part. Diaz, in turn, reached out to Marilou Estandarte Dichoso, his fellow University of Santo Tomas College of Medicine alumni, her husband Van Dichoso, and Gawad Kalinga-USA. S summer 2014 Salamin


Pictures of Naborot, San Dionisio, Iloilo. (Photos courtesy of Rebuild Project www.


Before and after Yolanda


he force of the waves and the destruction that followed were unprecedented. Yolanda was said to have been one of the four strongest typhoons ever recorded. The devastation it caused just could be the worst in Philippine history. Yolanda (international name “Haiyan�) battered the Visayas and changed the face of the region forever. In many places, Yolanda blew down homes and swept away trees. The storm leveled whole towns, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake. Worst of all, lives were lost and many of those who survived were left with scant hope of carrying on. Yolanda made landfall on Guiuan in Eastern Samar on Nov. 8 at 4:40 a.m. with winds of up to 275 kmh. According to the USAID website (updated on Jan. 24), Yolanda has affected 16 million people. As many as 6,201 deaths have been associated with the typhoon while 4.1


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million are believed to have lost their homes. The worst hit were the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported the highest number of fatalities in Leyte, Eastern Samar, Samar, Cebu, Capiz, and Iloilo ( Of the survivors, millions more were displaced from their homes or affected in some other way. The number includes more than 400,000 people from Bohol, a province that was still on the rebound from the effects of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit in midfirst to respond in the affected areas were the October. military and the coast guard, soon followed by humanitarian groups. PREPARATIONS AND THE AFTERMATH As transportation, power, and Warnings had come as early as a week communication lines were restored, so would a before. I remember on Nov. 5 listening to PAGASA officials explaining on the radio what certain sense of normalcy. Even the areas that were initially neglected by rescuers and aid measures people in the path of the storm were giving bodies are rebuilding their lives. The supposed to take. I was wondering just how dangerous the coming storm surge was going to 200 people living in the island barangay of Naborot Island in San Dionisio, Iloilo, have lost be. After the storm, the language of the warnings their homes and fishing boats but are now back on their feet after receiving help from small but would be discussed and criticized. Few people fully understood just what a storm surge was. It dedicated civic organizations. would have been technically incorrect to say a READYING FOR ANOTHER YOLANDA tsunami was coming, but survivors admit that No one had predicted the extent of the if warnings had said tsunami, then they would damage that was going to happen. It’s true have left their homes earlier. warnings were given and relief and refugee (The difference between the two is one of centers were set up before Yolanda arrived. origin: tsunamis are caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions under the sea. Storm surges, Nevertheless, both local and national government were criticized for what the on the other hand, are associated with lowpublic perceived as sluggishness in restoring pressure areas at sea.) normalcy and its penchant for bickering among themselves. Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, in It’s safe to say that the Filipino spirit has an Interaksyon news report, said that the city risen against all odds to rise up after the tragedy did everything it could to prepare, responding to criticism President Aquino III that Tacloban that has befallen it. After all that has happened, it seems almost banal to even say it out loud. was ill-equipped for the disaster. We have to believe it. But when the next With many airports inoperable and roads impassable, the challenge was how to bring help Yolanda comes, how prepared are we to head off into the places that needed it most urgently. The another tragedy? S summer 2014 Salamin



Transkripsyon ng Ilang Bytes ng Kompyuter ng NASA, Washington, D.C. ni E. San Juan Jr. “Everyone in the planet is under total surveillance today.” —Edward Snowden “Nothing is meaningless …” —Sissi, sa pelikulang “The Princess and the Warrior” Gising ka na ba? Anong gumagapang na hayop sa silong? Bakit makulimlim? Naramdaman mo ba? Masakit ba? O nakakikiliti? Malambot ba? O matigas? May kumakatok ba? Nariyan na ba sila? Bakit may agunyas sa bukang-liwayway? Gusto mo ba? Ayaw mo? Barado ba ang tubo ng kubeta? Inaalimpungatan ka ba? Anong ginagawa ko rito? Nabasa mo ba si Kierkegaard? Malapit ba o malayo? Biro ba lang? Makibaka ba, huwag matakot? Nilabasan ka ba? Kailan tayo tutugpa? Sino iyang nakamaskara? Peks man? Sino ang nagsuplong? Swak na swak ba? Dapat ba nating dalhin ang kargada? Mabigat ba o magaan? Sino si Yolanda? Liku-liko ba ang landas ng mahabang martsa? Bakit kasing-pait ng apdo? Doon ka ba nakatira? Anong kulisap ang katulad ko? May kurakot ba sa mga pulong inaangkin? Sino’ng nagtatanong? Nasaan ang iPad mo? Sino ka ba sa kanila? Iyon ba ang burol o lambak? Nakarating na ba tayo? Bakit mababa ang lipad ng kalapati? May kilala ka ba sa Abu Sayyaf? Nasaan ang hanggahan ng bughaw at luntian? May umutot ba? Paano ang hapunan? Iyon ba ang pulang sagisag? Papasok na tayo o lalabas? Magkano ba ang suhol? Puwede ka bang sumagot? Pinupulikat ka ba? Anong ibig mong sabihin? Bakit nag-alapaap ang salamin? May naamoy ka ba? Paano tayo makatatakas? Bakit bumaligtad? Na-etsa puwera ba sila? Ano ang kahulugan nito? Masaklap ba ang nangyari? Nasaan na ba tayo? May serpyenteng nagpugad sa dibdib mo? Bakit tumitibok ang bukong-bukong? Anong ginagawa ko rito? Malinaw ba ang kahulugan ng babala? Kinakalawang ba ang tulay na bakal sa Camp Bagong Diwa? Ano ang talaangkanan ng diskurso? Sino ang humihiyaw ng “saklolo”? May apoy ba sa butas ng karayom? Susi, anong susi? Bakit nagkanulo? Naipit ba ang bayag mo paglundag? Bumubulong ka ba? Ano ang kulay ng sinegwalas? Ano ang katuturan? Bakit nakunan kundi buntis? Mainit ba o malamig? Paano bubuksan ito? May napinsala ba? Bawat bagay ba ay kailangan? Puwede na ba tayong umuwi? May hinala ba sa nagpatiwakal? Kilala mo ba si Ludwig Feuerbach? Bakit walang asin ang sinigang? Paano tayo makalulusot? Bumulong ka ba? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa? Nasa loob daw ang kaharian? Magaspang ba? Bakit may apog sa kalingkingan? Bingi ba ako? Mangyayari kaya ito? Kung magunaw ang mundo, mapapawi ba ang utang natin? Sindak ka ba? Hanggang saan mo malulunok ito? Bakit tayo narito? Mas gusto mo ba ng sopas o salada? Tanga ba ako? Bangungot ba ito o panaginip? Bakit mahapdi ang lalamunan ko? Malamig ba ang hipo ni Lazaro? Bakit tapos na? Inis at yamot ka ba? Bakit may nangangaluluwa? Nais mong dumalaw sa bunganga ng sepulkro? Magkano ba? Pag-ibig ba raw ang makalulutas ng lahat? Niloloko ba tayo? Akin na ang sukli? Bawal bang mag-alis ng kulangot? Bakit buhay-alamang? Puwede bang umihi rito? Bakit walang pinto o bintana? Malikmata ba ito? Bakit wala kang imik?

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Transcription of Selected Bytes from a NASA Computer in Washington, D.C. (Translated from the original Filipino by E. San Juan Jr.)

Are you awake? What animal creeps under the floor? Why is it darkening? Did you feel it? Was it painful? Or ticklish? Soft? Or hard? Is someone knocking? Are they here? Why are bells tolling for the dead this morning? Do you like it? You don’t? Are the toilet pipes choked? Are you drowsy? What am I doing here? Have you read Kierkegaard? Is it far or near? Only a joke? Struggle, don’t be afraid? Did you come out? When are we departing? Who is that wearing a mask? Really? Who snitched? Just awesome? Should we carry our luggage? Light or heavy? Who is Yolanda? Is the path of the long march crooked? Why is it bitter as bile? Are you living there? What insect resembles me? Is there any loot in the islands we are claiming? Who is asking? Where’s your iPad? Who are you among them? Is that the hill or valley? Have we arrived? Why are the doves flying low? Do you know anyone with the Abu Sayyaf? Where is the boundary between blue and green? Who farted? How about supper? Is that the red symbol? Are we entering or exiting? How much is the bribe? Can you respond? Are we having cramps? What do you mean? Why did the mirror get foggy? Do you smell anything? How can we escape? Why did it turn topsy-turvy? Were they ostracized? What’s the significance of this? Are you chagrined by what happened? Where are we now? Is there a serpent nursing in your breast? Why is there throbbing in my ankle? What am I doing here? Is the import of the warning clear? Is the steel bridge to Camp Bagong Diwa rusting? What is the genealogy of discourse? Who is crying for help? Is there fire in the eye of the needle? Key, what key? Who betrayed? Were your testicles crushed by your leap? Are you whispering? What is the color of sinegwelas? What is valuable? Why miscarriage when there was no pregnancy? Cold or hot? How do we open this? Was there any damage? Is every object necessary? Can we go home now? Was there a suspect among the suicides? Do you know Ludwig Feuerbach? Why is there no salt in the broth? How can we squeeze through? Did you murmur? If not now, when? They say the kingdom is within? Is it rough? Why is there lime between the toes? Am I deaf? Will this possibly happen? If the world perishes, will our debts be wiped out? Are you terrified? How far can you swallow this? Why are we here? Do you like soup or salad better? Is this dream or nightmare? Why is my throat painful? Was Lazaro’s touch chilly? Why is it over now? Are you irked or angry? Why is there grieving? You want to visit the mouth of the sepulcher? How much? They say love will solve everything? Are we being fooled? Can I have the change? Is it forbidden to pluck dried snot from my nose? Can I pee here? Why is there no door or window? Is this a sleight of hand? Why are you mute?

Epifanio “Sonny” San Juan Jr., born in Manila, is a poet, teacher and literary scholar based in Connecticut. His collections of poetry are “Alay sa Paglikha ng Bukang-liwayway” (Ateneo de Manila University Press) and “Sapagkat Iniibig Kita” (University of the Philippines Press). His latest books are “US Imperialism and Revolution in the Philippines” (New York, Palgrave) and “Kundiman sa Gitna ng Karimlan” (University of the Philippines Press). In 1999, he received the Centennial Award for Achievement in Literature from the Cultural Center of the Philippines for his contributions to Filipino and Filipino-American studies. summer 2014 Salamin



Filipinotown: Voices from Los Angeles Editors: Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier, Gregory Villanueva and Gerald Gubatan

‘Voices from Los Angeles’ recounts and celebrates the stories that built L.A.’s Filipinotown BY LORENZO PARAN III “The old world is dying, but a new world is being born.” — Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart In Filipino-American history, Los Angeles’ Filipinotown plays a special role. The area has been home to a significant number of Filipinos since the 1930s and has been a social and cultural center for the population ever since. Carlos Bulosan himself, the central figure in Fil-Am history, lived for a time in the area and in all likelihood wrote his seminal work, “America is in the Heart,” during that period. All that and more come to light in “Filipinotown: Voices from Los Angeles,” a new book that gathers recollections, letters, newspaper clippings, poems, maps, pictures and other documents that chronicle and celebrate the history of the Filipino enclave, which up to now remains very much a center of 24 Salamin summer 2014

Filipino life this part of the U.S. In all, the book, edited by Carlene Sobrino Bonnivier, Gregory Villanueva and Gerald Gubatan, features more than 40 contributors, including Reme Grefalda, Noel Alumit, Eloisa Gomez Borah, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Joselyn Geaga Rosenthal, Erlinda Lim, Paul Lee, Connie Guerrero, the editors, this writer, and many more. Many of them once lived in the area, but all recognize its significance in FilAm cultural and social life. As to be expected, Bulosan figures prominently in the collection. Not only is he mentioned by many of the contributors, but excerpts from “The Romance of Magno Rubio,” his short story about a Filipino farmworker in love with an American woman he has never seen, also appears, along with excerpts from Lonnie Carter’s play that the story inspired. Also in Voices from Los Angeles is a magazine article that Bulosan wrote in 1942, just a few years before “America is in the Heart” was published, in which he echoes some of the themes of his novel. “Filipinos are driven to a corner of American life,” Bulosan writes in PIC magazine as he describes the social, economic and legal “restrictions” imposed on Filipinos at that time. It’s also worth noting that “Filipinotown,” as defined in Voices from Los Angeles, extends far beyond the boundaries set by the city of Los Angeles when it designated the Historic Filipinotown district in 2002. As will be clear when one reads the recollections, in particular, Filipinotown reached as far as what is now Little Tokyo to the southeast. Wherever there were Filipinos, and they seemed to be everywhere back in the day, it was Filipinotown. There are maps in the book—among them, those used for the walking tours popular in the 2000s—that help make that clear.

The other documents bring to life the many characters that made up Filipinotown: the farmworkers from the Central Valley who sought solace in the area’s dance halls and bars; the “dandy dressers,” who went to work in suits carrying briefcases that contained the uniforms they wore as restaurant bus boys, painters or chauffeurs; and the children of these migrant Filipinos who, in effect, became the first of many generations of “Fil-Ams.” We also meet the Filipino World War II veterans who came later and who made Filipinotown their home, and the community leaders who advocated on their behalf. All their stories are here. Quite clearly, Filipinotown comes alive in Voices from Los Angeles. Finally, there is a passenger and crew list for the SS President Taft that arrived in Seattle on June 13, 1930, from the Philippine islands bearing one Carlos Bulosan. The document perhaps will settle, once and for all, his birth date, which up to now is the subject of some contention. The book’s handsome wraparound cover features the mural by Eliseo Art Silva that is found in Unidad Park on Beverly Boulevard. The work, called “Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana” (“Golden History, Golden Heritage”), itself is a testament to the richness of Philippine and Filipino-American history and in that is a logical choice of art for the cover. Voices from Los Angeles is a great addition to the rich and vibrant body of writing on FilAm history, and there is no doubt that it will be a great resource for researchers. But it also makes for great reading and will serve well those who wish simply to uncover the full story of the Filipino in America. “Filipinotown: Voices from Los Angeles” is available on Amazon. S



Jeff Rietveld summer 2014 Salamin



“A Rose and a Butterfly: An Autobiography of an Immigrant’s Daughter” by Carina Monica Montoya Publish America

Filipino writer pens heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful memoir as an immigrant’s daughter BY LORENZO PARAN III They say if you want to hear a story about loneliness, you should talk to an immigrant, and if you want to hear of pain, you should talk to their children. That adage doesn’t exactly apply to “A Rose and a Butterfly,” the memoir of Los Angeles writer Carina Monica Montoya (aka Carina Montoya-Forsythe), but it comes close. The book, subtitled “An Autobiography of an Immigrant’s Daughter,” recounts Montoya’s difficult childhood in the 1960s, when her family lived in the L.A. enclave now known as Historic Filipinotown. The difficulties were many. There was the alienation that she felt growing up as a child of mixed heritage at a time when L.A.’s minority 26 Salamin summer 2014

populations were much smaller than they are today. There were lso the impoverished conditions that her family lived in, made worse when her father—a waiter who kept a lavish lifestyle—was stricken with multiple sclerosis and consigned to a lengthy spell at a hospital. When he died, as Montoya put it, he left behind “two children, no assets, no life insurance, no savings, no funeral funds.” As stark as these were, however, none of them would weigh as much as the author’s complex and sometimes tortured relationship with her mother, and it’s a desire to come to terms with that that drives the narrative forward. To explain that relationship here would be to give the book away. Suffice it to say that Rose was a complex character and not entirely prepared to raise an independentthinking, “Americanized” daughter. Suffice it to say, too, that the book ends on a hopeful note as the author reconciles with the past. It’s a story that may be as old as the story of migration itself, but it’s told in sharp and often heart-wrenching detail in “A Rose and a Butterfly,” with the vibrant and diverse colors of L.A. and its environs in the background. Montoya is the author of “Let’s Cook Adobo,” a book for young readers, and three titles in Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series: “Filipinos in Hollywood,” “Los Angeles’s Historic Filipinotown” and “Santa Maria Valley” (co-authored with the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society). Her latest book is “Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles County,” a book of pictures of the famed highway. “A Rose and a Butterfly: An Autobiography of an Immigrant’s Daughter,” is available on Amazon. S

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Scintillating songbird Melissa Morgan stays true to the spirit of jazz BY LORENZO PARAN III


here are singers you sing along to or swing your body to or, because we’re talking about jazz, sway your head to or tap your feet to. And then there are singers who leave you mesmerized, who leave you transfixed, unable to do anything but to listen 28 Salamin summer 2014

and enjoy the moment. These singers make you say to yourself: “My God. Can it get any better than this?” Jazz singer Melissa Morgan is clearly the second kind of songbird, gifted with a voice so special she’s made a habit of making audiences

Jazz singer Melissa Morgan performs during Concert of Hope, a benefit for Philippine typhoon victims, in December in Los Angeles. From left are Tateng Katindig on keyboards, Ner de Leon on saxophone, Melissa, Jerry Cruz on bass, David Anderson on drums and Takahito Mori on guitar. (Photo by Rick Gavino)

swoon with her sultry and dreamy takes on jazz’s oldies but goodies, tunes like “Save your Love for Me,” “Until I Met You” and “The Lamp is Low.” These tunes—she has a penchant for songs by Nancy Wilson, one of jazz’s most distinctive voices—take on new life when Melissa performs them but somehow they also retain their “soul.” That’s perhaps the difference between Melissa and others who take on the standards. In her hands, the song is fresh but not so fresh that the flavor is gone. Quite precisely, the song simply comes back to life.

Even Mon David, another singer who has perfected a vocal style that many in the Los Angeles area and elsewhere have come to love, is impressed. He says: “I think she’s one of today’s most distinctive vocal stylists who respect and honor the history and tradition of jazz. Her sound is both rich and brilliant, and I like the way she phrases her songs—(she’s) in control of her rhythm and inner pulse …” Perhaps Melissa’s classical background has a lot to do with that. The New Jersey native played classical piano for 10 years and was into choir and summer 2014 Salamin


opera singing until she was 14. (Her paternal grandmother was a classical singer and sang on radio.) At 15, she says, she stumbled upon Billie Holliday and John Coltrane, and she was hooked on jazz ever since. She and a friend started going to New York City’s jazz clubs, and she began dabbling in the genre herself. Now 34, she’s become a regular on jazz stages in Los Angeles, San Francisco and places in between. But there might be another reason Melissa takes so naturally to tunes by Wilson, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington: She herself is very much an old soul. Asked what inspires her as a singer, Melissa says, “I think life experience is the greatest influence. Being a jazz singer is being a storyteller. A performer sings a song, (but) a true jazz singer has lived a song and shares her story.” There’s also a bit of a romantic in the songstress. She says she loves the standards because of their “beautiful and poetic lyrics”

and “their ability to paint a story … with such tenderness and vulnerability.” “It’s like watching your favorite love story,” she says. “You could watch it a million times and never get sick of it…. jazz is the epitome of romance for me.” The result is pure pleasure for the listener. Concert producer Ted Benito, who organized “Artists United,” a benefit for Philippine typhoon victims where Melissa electrified the crowd, is a well-known admirer of the singer, whose mother hails from Tagbilaran, Bohol, in the Philippines. “(Melissa) doesn’t just sing the songs,” Benito says, “she embodies them. You can hear the blues, the angst, the loneliness, the joy, the happiness and every emotion in between in her delivery of jazz standards and songs from the Great American Songbook.” Keyboard wiz Tateng Katindig is equally impressed. “She’s one of the most promising jazz singers in the L.A. jazz scene today,” he says. “One of the best in my book.” S


Jazzy trio serves up a musical delight BY LORENZO PARAN III This trio’s music literally stopped me in my tracks. I was walking the grounds of Point Fermin Park in San Pedro, Calif., during the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture in 2011, when I heard Trina Marana and Eric Baul’s singing coming from one of the stages. Even in the din of the festival and the strong ocean breeze, the rhythm and the music were unmistakable. It was jazz. I had to turn and look to see what was going 30 Salamin summer 2014

Straight Ahead Featuring Trina Marana, Eric Baul, Winston Raval Producer: Shantih Haast, Studio 770

on. That’s when I saw the pair, with Winston Raval on the keyboards behind them, on the stage lighting up “jazz hour” at FPAC. As it turned out, FPAC was featuring the segment for the first time. They were going through some jazz standards, and eventually wound up playing what I would later learn was “Manila Medley,”

an entertaining mash-up of the OPM hit “Manila” (which begins “Maraming beses na kitang iniwanan …”) by the Philippine band Hot Dog, “I Get a Kick Out of You” and “Come Fly With Me.” Since then I’ve followed the singers around the Los Angeles area, where they perform at JazzPhil-USA events and at clubs alongside Raval, and I’ve always been impressed by their refreshing voices and unique takes on jazz standards. That’s why I was especially glad to learn that they were coming out with a CD. And now it’s here. “Straight Ahead,” produced by Studio 770, gathers some of the brightest tunes from the trio’s repertoire over the years, including “All of Me,” “Summertime,” “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).” With a couple of original tunes thrown in as well, it doesn’t only showcase the artists’ unmistakable talents but, as any album should, also dishes out a rich and entertaining smorgasbord of music—of the jazzy kind—that will be a joy to play over and over and over. It’s just a delight. Marana is equally at home in blues, jazz and R & B and it’s all those flavors that she mixes in “Summertime.” The tune showcases her powerful lilting voice and wonderful scatting, a soulful number that makes a strong case of being the liveliest in the collection. She’s even better in “Dark Clouds on a Summer Day,” where she really lets loose, going for and reaching high notes without losing her hold on the mood of the song. I’ve heard Baul sing “April in Paris” many times over the years, and he is fond of that song, but his rich baritone voice and heartfelt singing really shine in “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.” He will remind many of a balladeer from the old school—not Michael Bublé or Harry Connick Jr., but older and, dare I say, classier.

The energy of the album, its character, derives in large part from the wonderful and fresh arrangements by Raval (all the arrangements are his) and, of course, his excellent work on the piano and keyboards. Raval likes to say that he is a better composer and arranger than an accompanist, but that is a typically modest comment from him. “Manong,” as he is fondly called in the Filipino jazz community of L.A., is as good as any. He constantly shows it on stage and he shows it in “Straight Ahead,” whether he’s going on a riff or in the two instrumental tunes in the album: “Do Nothin’ ’Til You Hear From Me” and “All the Things You Are.” The partnership of Marana, Baul and Raval reaches a high point in the last track, “Manila Medley.” Baul has been singing the tune for years, and it was his winning number at JazzPhil-USA’s talent search in 2009. When Baul sings the tune, it never fails to strike a chord, not least because it harkens to that city that, for all its flaws, remains dear to many an overseas Pinoy’s heart, but also because, again, it offers a new twist to wellknown tunes: not one, not two, but three oldiesbut-goodies: one homegrown—“Manila,” Hot Dog’s signature hit from the 1970s, and two tunes from the Great American Songbook—“I Get a Kick Out of You” and “Come Fly With Me.” (How’s that for a serving of Fil-Am jazz?) Marana joins him in the medley, and the result is just pleasure. You’ll definitely get a kick out of the tune. And you’ll definitely get a kick out of the whole album. The L.A. area is home to many talented Filipino jazz musicians. Marana and Baul are wonderful additions. They have been for a while. “Straight Ahead” is a celebration of that, and with Raval on the keys, it’s a truly swinging one. “Straight Ahead” features Rob Kohler on bass and Tsugumi Shikano on drums. S summer 2014 Salamin



Pinoy photographer is on top of his game BY LORENZO PARAN III He has a shot of Blake Griffin that many NBA fans will remember. It was taken in 2011, the breakout year of the Los Angeles Clippers’ electrifying power forward. He had broken free with the ball and is about to finish a breakaway play. He is rising in the air, staring at the rim, and ready to slam the ball home. But that’s not all. In the image, fans are staring up at Griffin, mesmerized. Some are already celebrating, with their hands up in the air. That’s sports photography at its finest—but just another workday for the man behind the camera, a Pinoy. He is John Salangsang, of Chino, Calif. Salangsang’s work—he specializes in sports 32 Salamin summer 2014

and celebrity photography—has appeared in major U.S. publications—among them “People,” “US Weekly,” “Rolling Stones,” “Vogue” and “The Ring” magazine—and on TV: channels and shows such as ESPN, TMZ, EXTRA, Insider and E! If his photographs stand out—and they often do in the slew of images by other sports and celebrity photographers—it’s because of a very simple reason. Salangsang likes to take images “that need no explanation,” he says. The lens man adds that he tries to catch the subject— “whether it’s a dunk or a dance”—at the “peak” of the action. Salangsang says he doesn’t have any


Opposite page: “Breakaway Dunk,” 2011. Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers skies for a breakaway dunk at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Top left, “Hip Hops,” 2013, Hip Hop International in Las Vegas. Bottom left, “Dolphins at Play,” 2013, waters off Dana Point, Calif. Right, “Posterized,” 2012, Special K of the Harlem Globetrotters at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

real philosophy in photography, only that he believes in “being able to shoot in any given situation.” Flexibility indeed is a hallmark of his game. Salangsang can freely shift from sports to a redcarpet shoot to portraits and others, and the results are always stunning. But the going has not always been good for Salangsang, who was born in Manila and moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 6. He worked for Estee Lauder Companies for 20 years. He was an executive within the cosmetic company’s designer fragrance division. He was let go in 2002, Salangsang says, and as a result his world was “turned upside down.”

But it allowed him to get back into photography, which he had studied—and excelled in—when he was attending high school in Glendale, Calif. After a period of uncertainty but also of rediscovery, he hit his groove. He’s happy that he’s now shooting full time. He’s busy, but happy. And, finally, it seems he’s found his game. Asked what drives him and his work, he shares a quote he said he lives by: “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” See Salangsang’s celebrity photos and more at Follow him on Instagram @JohnPhotography and on Facebook at S summer 2014 Salamin



Fil-Am community says goodbye to ‘Uncle’ Fred Cordova BY LORENZO PARAN III The Filipino-American community lost a steward. Fred Cordova, historian, teacher, activist, tireless advocate for Filipino-American rights, and co-founder of the Filipino American National Historical Society, died on Dec. 21, 2013. He was 82. Cordova was born on June 3, 1931, in Selma, Calif., to Filipino migrants. He had an itinerant childhood, moving He was a tireless across California’s farming champion of Filipinoregions with his adoptive American rights, racial parents, Leoncio and Lucia equality and economic Cordova. He moved to Seattle in justice. In 1982 he 1948 and attended Seattle co-founded, with his University. After graduation wife Dorothy Cordova, he became a newspaperman, working for the Seattle Post the Filipino American Intelligencer and the Catholic National Historical Northwest Progress. Later he Society (FANHS). became Seattle University’s public information officer. He held a similar position at the University of Washington from 1974 until 2000, when he retired. He also taught Filipino-American history and culture at the University of Washington. He was a tireless champion of Filipino-American rights, racial equality and economic justice. In 1982 he co-founded, with his wife Dorothy Cordova, the Filipino American National Historical Society 34 Salamin summer 2014

(FANHS), an organization with branches all over the U.S. that aims to preserve and promote the legacy of Filipino Americans. He also was FANHS’ first president. His picture book, “Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans,” came out in 1983 and details, through 250 images, the plight of Filipinos in America from 1763 to 1963. In 1998 Cordova received an honorary doctorate from Seattle University for his research and work promoting Fil-Am history. In his later years, Cordova remained active at FANHS activities and continued his work on behalf of the Fil-Am community, in the process becoming a father figure and mentor to many generations of Fil-Am scholars and advocates. They fondly called him “Uncle Fred.” Another leader of the community, Oscar Penaranda of the San Francisco Bay Area, paid tribute to FANHS after Cordova’s death. “There are so many consequences of FANHS and what that vision inspired,” he said. “It would be difficult to enumerate all or even half of them. It spans through the categories of the youth, education, consciousness of generations then and yet to come and (touches) the nerve of Filipinos in the Philippines (who) heretofore had no clue or interest in the history and accomplishments of Filipinos in the U.S.” Historian Peter Jamero hailed Cordova as the “quintessential Bridge Generation Filipino American,” referring to a Filipino born to Filipino migrants in the U.S. before World War II who overcame great racial prejudice to become a successful member of mainstream American society. A greater tribute came perhaps when a huge crowd of family, friends, colleagues, fellow bridge generation Filipino-Americans, and former students and wards filled Seattle’s

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Jan. 11, 2014, to pay their last respects to Cordova. Jamero, who attended the memorial that was led by Dorothy and Cordova’s eight children, said, “It was truly a Cordova production that their father would have been most proud of— alternately inspirational, intimate, humorous, entertaining, and always informative.” When Fil-Ams celebrate October as Filipino American History Month, they are unknowingly paying homage to Cordova, who was behind the effort to have the month designated as such by the U.S. Congress. S

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The many hues of Filipino-American history BY ELISEO ART SILVA The cover art highlights the birth of the Filipino-American movement, when about 1,500 Pinoy farmworkers in California, led by Larry Itliong, voted to strike the next day. The event would eventually be known as the “1965 Delano Grape Strike,” a watershed in California’s labor history. On the same day of the unanimous vote on Sept. 7, Itliong initiated the Filipino American Political Association (FAPA), the first national political organization for Filipino Americans. In the artwork, the grapes the farmworkers dropped to the ground at exactly noon on Sept. 8, signaling the massive strike, are depicted with flames derived from designs found on the Manunggul Jar. Organic motifs found in the “barong Tagalog” emanate and flourish like vines and point out other Filipino-American events and personalities. On the left are the Filipino Americans injured in violence during the first week of the strike. This was the moment Itliong approached Latino labor leader Cesar Chavez to ask for help. Behind the silhouettes—Itliong is at the center, holding a megaphone and a placard bearing the image of a carabao—a glorious sun from the Philippine flag rises on the horizon. Within the windows are various Filipino enclaves throughout the United States. At the 36 Salamin summer 2014

ABOUT THE ARTIST Eliseo Art Silva has two passions: his art and Filipino-American history. Truthfully speaking, it’s a toss-up as to which holds the greater weight for him. The Corona, Calif.-based muralist has taken every opportunity—whether in an article in a book, during a Q&A at a panel discussion or, of course, on any of his colorful and celebrated murals across the U.S.—to champion the long and rich legacy of Filipinos in America. Silva, 42, perhaps hasn’t done this more eloquently than in “Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana” (“Golden History, Golden Heritage”), his 150-foot-long mural in Los Angeles (shown above), a vibrant—no, explosive— celebration of the many crucial intersections of Filipino and American histories over the centuries. On the cover is his latest piece, commissioned by Salamin, that again underscores Fil-Am history but also adds a contemporary feel: the world of Filipinos in America in 2014. It’s an apt piece for the Salamin project. Find out more about Silva and his art at

top left is a marker honoring the place where Filipino presence began in America on Oct. 18, 1587, which would lead to October being celebrated as Filipino American History Month. Looming large in the composition is Fred Cordova, beloved and respected patriarch of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS), which established the annual celebration and installed the marker. Finally, Filipina community leader Loida Nicolas Lewis strikes a “Rosie the Riveter” pose. Above her are the words “Kaya Natin ’To!” written in early Filipino script. S

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